1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
~ The Kingdom of Heaven
And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had..
7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
Abraham's faithful servant, was also a person of faith..
12 And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
A bible passage to say, God-incident instead of coincidence. The love story of Rebekah & Isaac. Genesis 24
This week, I've had two God-incidences - my husband asked me to go to the store for one item - that hasn't happened in a long, long time - it isn't the way we organize our lives. So the car radio is on and the subject is a woman interviewed on our Christian radio, which usually plays songs. The subject is coping with a child's death at the 2nd Anniversary. Next month will be our daughter Isabelle's 2nd birthday - the day she arrived in Heaven.
The interviewed mother is asked what was the most difficult part to overcome? Her answer was great. She said her surviving daughter was crying and weeping her heart out on the stairs one day. Her young daughter asked her mom, "Why does it have to be this hard? Why?" And the mom said, "Life is hard, but because Jesus did the hardest part, we can have hope." Perfect.
The next few days, I clicked on an upbeat Houston (my city) Christian Blog, it is a ray of 'Sonshine'. Usually. And the subject was helping a family cope with the loss of a child. What the positive steps were to continue to help the bereaved. This was a difficult one... because the guest writer is a mom who lost her child - a month ago. It made me remember, things are just a blur at first. I felt sorry for the mom trying to teach others to cope with something so deep, at such a hard time in her life. Almost as if, "well that is done now... a month ago... tell us how it went for you..."
The Kingdom of Heaven ~
The Kingdom of Heaven isn't just about being prepared in your soul. Although so many of the grieving stories are about sudden death. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Preparing for the Kingdom of Heaven is about how we feel when others, we love, pass on before us. How much oil will you have in your lamp?
When you have experienced grief, like the loss of a child, the loss of a parent to suicide - people feel comfortable to tell you about their grief. Americans. are. not. comfortable. with. grief. Americans cling to the belief that if you have grief and tragedy - you've earned it. Let me tell you the hard part about grief - it is lonely and it hurts for a long time.
If you Google overcoming grief , you will find, and people will tell you in the face of raw - fresh grief - you will never recover from this..... pages and pages of people chatting about how they are not going to recover. Encouraging isn't it? Public opinion is.. this is unending. That is so counter-productive. Loss eases over time. We can do what no loved one would ever hope we would do - to cling to our loss. No, strive for the future - the eternal gift of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:13
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
Now, be reasonable. God likes moderation. We should tell the Lord and tell people when we hurt.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand
One of my favorite novels, written by Susan Howatch "Wheel of Fortune" has a saying about grief that has stuck with me for about 25 years. I'm going to have to paraphrase. "There is no time table for grief. Grief is standing in the ocean on a peaceful day, turning to see the buildings on the coast, and being driven to your knees by a stray wave."
Grief.. should have the hope of the virgins with oil for their lamp. The night is dark, the torch doesn't hide the darkness, the light burns bright. We will move forward with joy.
We have treasure in Heaven.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.